Friday, December 21, 2007

Holiday Cheer...WooHoo

Well, Friday, the last day of work before Christmas break, is FINALLY here. For the next two weeks, no more getting up at 5am, no more ironing clothes, no more watching the clock. Just me, E, and my little Magpie enjoying the holiday season with friends and family. Sleeping in, Papa's pancakes, Pam's Christmas Quiche, Nanny's stuffed mushrooms, and all of the goodies that we all bring from home because we have to GOT to get all of those sweets out of our house or we will gain 15 pounds.

We so look forward to spending time with everyone. Especially Ashley and Justin. Ashley just graduated from Saint Leo's University with her MBA last week. Congrats!!! And Justin just came home from his first tour as Executive Officer on his new boat. Ash was in Key West with me and she has been my running partner and motivation for the past year (even though the first words out of her mouth when we start lacing up our running shoes are "I am just not motivated today!"). She is my race partner, my excuse to go home early from a night downtown with the girls, the only other CG wife left without kids like me, and my sounding board for all things Coast Guard and job related. As a Central Florida girl, she now lives in Pascagoula. She called the other night and said "I just can't get used to this southern cooking. Fried okra??? What the heck is that?"
**Me and Ash going fabulously stag with all of the other wives at the CG Ball last year.

Of course, we look forward to visiting with all of our close family. That's a given!!! But since we saw most all of you last weekend at the wedding...

Oh well, this is my last blog entry until the new year. So, Merry Christmas to you all from me, E and Maggie. May the new year bring great surprises and unexpected blessings!

Since I hate blogging with no are a few more wedding pics I recieved this week.

**My mom's side of the family/where I get half of all of my good looks

**My cousins Jonathan, Kimberly and Laurel all decked out!!

**E and I dancing the night away with Nanny and Papa. I don't think I have ever slow danced before since I have been such a good Baptist girl all my life. So E was kind enough to teach me the basics.

**The life of the party...Brit, Stacey, Laurel and Will.

**The first time we have gotten all dressed up in a long time...(my husband looks "NICE" in a coat and tie)

Hot Soups for the Cold Texas nights...

Well, I am still waiting on the cold weather to come. I put on a long sleeve shirt this morning and by lunch time, it was 75 degrees. I guess I should be more grateful considering I still haven't purchased any clothing items to get me through the winter months. It was a BIG plus living in Florida and never having to buy clothes for each season. I could wear the same clothes year round. But now that I am back on the mainland, I thought things would be different. I have been waiting all month for a good excuse to wear my new coat, with no success. So much for a white Christmas!!

Here's some new soup recipes I tried last week for those of you in a colder climate or ...just because you like soup.

Creamy Turkey and Corn Soup - So good over some corn chips with some sour cream and cheese sprinkled over the top. And what else can you do with all that leftover turkey from the holidays.
**Since I forgot to take a picture of either of them for you all, here's someone else's pic of their turkey soup.

Beer Cheese Soup - I was surprised how good it was. My mom used to make cheddar soup when we were growing up and all those memories came back when I ate this. I had this soup for my first meal after I got my wisdom teeth taken out when I was 16. I can remember eating it out of a travel coffee mug during the rush of the week long nightly Christmas musical rehearsals (We ate soup in the car or we didn't eat at all).

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Budget Christmas

Well, since I have already spent a fortune on Christmas decorations, I looked into alternative Christmas decorations that I don’t have to buy. I love this idea because in two years with the colors are no longer popular, I am not wasting space in the landfill with all of the Christmas decorations that I no longer want.

Our Sunday School lesson last week was about Adam and Eve and the beginnings of the earth as we know it now. We talked about all of the responsibilities that Adam was given. One of those responsibilities was to take care of the garden where he lived…And as Christians, shouldn’t we all heed those instructions?? Taking care of the communities we live in is not only common sense but a command from God. With that being said, I am no environmental fanatic that is going to sterilize myself to reduce my carbon footprint. Click here to see the article if you haven't already heard about this! But I would like people to stop throwing their empty beer cans in my yard, I would like to see my neighbors take responsibility for their homes, animals and trash, and finally, for our city to reinstitute their recycling program.

While I am waiting for those people to wake up a little bit, one of the things I did this year was to make a lot of my own Christmas decorations. So here are a few examples:

**Here is my tree with Cranberry Strands wrapped across the front… $5.67 and decomposable.

**Hat boxes for Gift boxes…$3.99 a piece, great for gifts, gift boxes and after Christmas storage. Reusable.

**I made a completely budget centerpiece complete with a red and green paper chain and paper snowflakes… $free and decomposable. (and it covers up my crappy chandelier that I haven’t replaced yet) Click here to learn how to make the snowflakes.

**Here is my centerpiece…Cloved Oranges… $7 and decomposable.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Maggie and the Mole

Once upon a time, a little girl got a puppy. That puppy grew so big. She started getting very smart. So smart that she could hear and smell anything and everything. She chased squirrels and birds all day long. Then one day, while visiting her Nanny’s house, the puppy spotted a pile of dirt. She liked dirt piles. They were good for digging. But this particular dirt pile was in the middle of the grass. She was curious when she found another pile not far from the first. And then another and then another.

**Maggie mole hunting

All of the sudden, she smelled a mole. She had never seen a mole and was very excited to meet her first mole. She howled into the night air asking Mr. Mole to come out and meet her. He didn’t answer. So she howled again asking him to come out and play. No answer again. This made the puppy sad. So she decided she would go find Mr. Mole herself. She immediately began digging into the dirt piles to try to find Mr. Mole. He continued to hide from the puppy.

The little girl looked at her watch and saw that it was bedtime for the puppy. She called for her to get ready for bed. The puppy came inside and sat in her lap, sad, because Mr. Mole would not come out and play. And they all “lived” happily ever after.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wedding Days are Here Again

Well, my cousin Jonathan and his brand new wife Tara got married on Saturday. Such a beautiful wedding. I was so ready to go home though. After crying on Thursday before we left for job related reason, I cried on Friday at the rehearsal dinner because of a “through the years” powerpoint presentation with pictures of the two of them growing up and all of the family and then the beautiful speech Tara gave about Jonathan (since he also graduated from Southern Miss this weekend too). My mom looked at me afterwards and said “I am so glad you didn’t have one of those at your wedding. Tara’s mom is a wreck now.”

Then the crying started again on Saturday evening during the seating of the mothers and grandmothers. They all walked down the aisle crying, sat down in their seats, and immediately reached for their purses and tissues. The bridesmaids came in with tear stained dresses. During the ceremony, my grandfather read a letter that he had written Jonathan on the day he baptized him as a child. Then after the lighting of the unity candle, they passed out flowers, hugs and kisses to all of their parents and grandparents. The tears just flowed. I really regretted not buying a bag of tissues.

I got home on Sunday night and started putting together a casserole for dinner the next night. After crying everyday for the past 3 days, I just couldn’t handle crying a fourth. When it came time to chop up 2 cups of onion, I dug into my gym bag, found my swim goggles, attached them to my face and then went back to cooking. I know I looked like a complete moron, but there wasn’t a trace of a tear. E just stared at me when I walked back to the kitchen. I said “What?” He said “Cutting onions?” I nodded and continued walking through to the kitchen. Is it widespread crazy when he knows how my mind works?

Congratulations Jonathan and Tara! Good luck in everything!

**Jonathan, Tara, and my sister Blake. (sorry Tara, bad pic but it was the only I had of you from the wedding)

**Me and E enjoying the scrumptious spread of food.

Happy Haircut Day (Erika...this one's for you)

E has been pushing me to get my hair cut off ever since we got married. He has been saying for 4 years now that short hair would look so good on me. Well after all of my friends started getting short haircuts, I started getting a little jealous…just to be honest here. I have always wanted a good looking short haircut but every time I get one, I get super burned. But the third times a charm right??? Definitely!!! I really love it and E likes it too. It just takes a good hairdresser to do it right. Props to Jill at On Stage. A good hairdresser makes all the difference.

Monday, December 17, 2007

It’s “MY” birthday

What a fun day! Colin’s third birthday party was this weekend and I asked Lucy to send me a few pics to share with everyone. The pirate party was a total success complete with a treasure hunt, “walk the plank” relay, and pirate cookie cake. Mmmm I love cookie cake.

**Lucy keeping the kids (and E) in suspense while they gather together for the treasure hunt.

**E started the party with a small headache and ended the party with a large one. We still haven’t identified what cause the intensification.

*Colin announcing for the 20th time that today was his birthday.

**Ty reading my new favorite book.

**We were one kid short for the pirate relay Lucy set up so E jumped in to make the teams even.

**Me keeping the little ones quiet.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Give One, Get One?

I saw this article on another site today and thought it was interesting... I am kinda on the fence. And the only reason I even slightly lean to the other side of her opinion is because the minds behind it. Nicolas Negroponte is a personal favorite of mine. I read his book "Being Digital" in college and always tote it around with me whenever I go on a long trip and need a book. Always a good read even the 5th time. But I don't think that a laptop for every child is going to change all of the problems in the world. If their basic human needs aren't being met, why are we giving them laptops? What do you think?

From the blog "Two Straight Lines"

I'm curious what you all think of this "Give One, Get One" concept. Is that what the children of the world need-- laptops? I'm not saying the answer is no, just that we shouldn't assume that the answer is yes. Hmmm...I'd love some concrete examples of how this will improve their lives. I took a quick look at the website and didn't find them, but haven't fully explored it. Sort of reminds me of when Karin Blixen opened the school in Out of Africa (my favorite movie), making a lot of assumptions along the way about what "the other" people needed. Even some of the language on the site rubs me the wrong way-- "to contribute to a more productive and saner world community." Huh?? OK, sorry for the rant, I'm just not convinced.

Mmmm...Bread Pudding...with Chocolate

So I fell asleep on the couch watching TV the other night and when I awoke, Paula Dean was making chocolate bread pudding with cream sauce. I watched thinking to myself, my paternal side of the family is all from Louisiana, I ate gumbo every Thanksgiving that my grandmother was with us, I can peel a crawfish tail faster that I can put my hair in a ponytail, I should know and be able to make chocolate bread pudding.

Let me preface this recipe by saying that if you are looking for a quick dessert to make, this is not the dessert. But OH SO Delicious!!! I had 2 Italians actually from Italy ask for the recipe. E actually had it for dinner the next night to my dismay! Also, be assured that this is not one of my healthy recipes. This is one of my super duper splurge recipes. The recipe is on the left side. I hope you all enjoy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

You Go Carson…It’s your Birthday

Thursday afternoon I got a message from Erika asking if I wanted to help her and Elizabeth decorate Carson’s birthday cake Friday night…Sure why not…What else am I really doing…

Elizabeth picked me up around 8 and we decorated the cake until 11:30 that night. Holy Cow. I was so tired. Erika is one of those moms with more kids than arms. I hope I can do it as good as she does though. Her middle child Carson turned 4 last weekend they threw a bowling extravaganza... complete with the bowling hall, our own personalized bowling t-shirts, and the aforementioned bowling cake. Just a few highlights...

*E trying to stay calm but there are just too many kids.

*E giving in to the insanity and entertaining our friend Ty.

*Me and E trash talking our bowling game with our opponents, the grandpas!!!

*Dave, Erika, Natalia, Carson – the birthday boy, and Luke

*The cake that took 4 of us to decorate…What are friends for!

*Carson LOVES his special bowling cake, especially the black icing!

*E giving Dave some pointers.

*Helping Lucy (another mom with more kids than arms) by holding Ty.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Weekend update...

Well...a lazy Friday night turned into a busy Saturday and Sunday...I woke up early as usual to make the weekly Saturday special. This week...Mushroom, Bacon, and Swiss Strata. I spent all morning prepping the ingrediants, toasting the bread, chopping the herbs, whipping the eggs. Then I thought to myself as I looked at my instructions "Great!! Only 2 more steps." I began to read those last 2 instructions...and my face began to drop as I read "Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours." I nearly cried! Oh well, was SOOO delicious on Sunday morning and then again for Sunday lunch! :) MmmmMmmmMmmm (recipe is on the left hand side)

E worked hard making plans for the den, repairing the subfloor, and getting the walls ready to put up...

After Colin's 3rd birthday party just north of town, E went to bed with a migrane headache. I am assuming the onset of his ailment wasn't helped when Colin received a drum set for his birthday! But as soon as I put him to bed, I had my first girls night out with Elizabeth and Erika. WooHoo. More pics from the birthday party to come...

Sunday, we went to church and kept the babies in the nursery...Oh so cute! Then we went home, cooked, napped, jogged and spent some quality time with Maggie.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Lonestar Christmas

Well the tree is finally up. A little scraggly thing … but nonetheless, it is up. Me and E have always spent very little time together during the weeks leading up to Christmas because of the needs of his job, but this will be our first year where we get to spend time together throughout the whole month. With that being said, we have always had a miniature palm tree for a Christmas tree since I have always been the one to bring it home by myself. After getting out the boxes of ornaments and beginning to decorate our brand new giant (to us) Christmas tree, I started noticing that our ornaments from our palm tree were being engulfed by the tree. So we went out and bought a few more ornaments and we still need more. But everyone has to start somewhere…Right? So without ado, welcome the Southernmost Bailey Christmas Tree.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The cake that almost wasn't...

Well, with the holidays here, I have had big plans for all of the things that I have been wanting to cook for so long. With the recipes stuck to my refrigerator longing to be read, there was no time to be found to spend in the kitchen trying new things. Finally, I just got over it and at 9:00 one night, started throwing ingrediants together in a bowl. And Ta Daa.....

Irish Cream Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

MmmMmm..I think this may be the best thing that's ever come out of my kitchen. I hope you all enjoy!